Feb. 13, 2001
Irish head to Long Island, NY, for pursuit of fifth consecutive BIG EAST conference title:
The 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team (10-1) will begin its defense of the BIG EAST conference championship on Thursday, Feb. 15, in Long Island, NY. The Irish have won four consecutive conference crowns in five years of BIG EAST competition.
Last year, Notre Dame scored a school-record 829.5 points at the conference championship. Nine Irish swimmers captured individual titles and the team won five relay championships.
Veteran and rookie swimmers and divers will be crucial to Irish success:
Notre Dame boasts a number of veteran swimmers with BIG EAST championship experience, but there is also a bevy of freshmen on the team who will be swimming for a conference title for the first time.
Among the top veterans, junior backstroke specialist Kelly Hecking (Rutherford, NJ) will be counted on to repeat her double individual victory performance last season.
Hecking won the 100 and 200 backstroke at the 2000 conference meet and won the 100 back as a freshman in 1999. She has dominated the backstroke the entire 2000-01 season, swimming some of the top times in the nation in the process. The 55.70 100 back time she posted against Northwestern (Jan. 25) is ranked 17th in the nation. A 200 back time (2:00.32) that she swam the same weekend is currently ranked 18th.
Hecking is also a valuable member of Notre Dame’s medley relay teams. She has participated in six championship relays during her Notre Dame career and she will be on the Irish relay teams again this season.
Notre Dame’s 400 medley team of Maureen Hillenmeyer (Carmel, Ind.), Allison Lloyd (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Amy Deger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Brooke Davey (Hopewell Junction, NY) swam a 3:48.91 vs. Northwestern, a time ranked 21st in the nation heading into this weekend.
Lloyd has come on strong during the final stretch of the dual meet season and owns the team top times in the 100 (1:04.65) and 200 (2:20.21) breaststroke.
Among the rookies that will play a vital role to the team success at the meet, Marie Labosky (Churchville, Pa.) might be the most significant of the group. Labosky’s range, from posting stellar distance freestyle times to nationally-ranked individual medley times, will come in handy during the championship competition.
Labosky has dominated the 400 IM during the dual meets this season and should be favored to win the event at the BIG EAST meet. Her 4:19.81 time, swam earlier this season, ranks 22nd in the country. She also has a ranked time (25th) in the 1,000 freestyle (10:03.16).
Freshman Danielle Hulick (Galesburg, Ill.), has been the top sprint freestyle swimmer for the Irish this season. Her times in the 50 (24.10) and 100 (52.14) freestyle are the best on the team.
The Notre Dame diving team, which played a crucial role in the team’s 10-1 dual meet record, will be able to score some valuable points for the team this year. Junior Heather Mattingly (Houston, Texas) has been on a hot streak lately, sweeping both the one- and three-meter diving events vs. Northwestern and Michigan two weeks ago. Mattingly received honorable mention All-America honors last year in both boards and should be among the favorites to win the highly competitive BIG EAST diving competitions this weekend. She finished fifth in both boards at the championship meet last season.
The 2001 BIG EAST women’s swimming and diving championship begins Thursday, Feb. 15. Additional information (tickets, schedule of events and results) is available at the official BIG EAST conference website: www.bigeast.org.